If you ever get the chance to go to your area’s annual meeting, I highly recommend you go. They help you know what’s going on during the upcoming season and network with some very important people. While you may feel like there is no reason to go to your area’s meeting, you may be surprised at how useful it can be for an everyday rider.
How to know when and where it is
The first part of going to the meeting is knowing where and when it is. If you are a part of your area’s adult or young rider program you should be getting update emails from their coordinators. If not, you can find all of the important information out on the area’s web page. You can just google your area and it should be one of the first results. Most of the time, the meeting is pretty close to the middle of the area at a hotel to make traveling easier for everyone.
What to wear
Most of the time when you hear the words “annual meeting” you think very important and fancy. While the meeting is important, it’s not really fancy. Even if people were staying for awards they were in semi-formal clothing or jeans and an area sweater. Clothing is one of the first things people will see when they meet you so pay attention to what you are wearing. I wore a nice pair of jeans and a sweatshirt and I seemed to be on the more casual side. No one was in a dress or suits so somewhere in between seemed to be normal.
Why you should go
The horse world is all about who you know. If you don’t know many people, no one will know about you. Networking is a huge skill you will need to know if you want to make it anywhere in the horse world. You can meet the head of the young rider team, the area chair, and prominent people in your area at your area’s meeting. Farm owners, instructors, and your top riders will be there. I was able to sit next to one of my friends who owns a barn and she introduced me to many people and opportunities. I can’t say it enough, it’s all about who you know! Find people who can open doors for you and will help you find the doors, to begin with.
My area was fortunate enough to have David O’Connor speak on both days. I learned so much that I thought my head was going to explode! I would have never been able to hear him speak or meet him if I didn’t go.